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Why is it essential that Baby Massage is taught by a qualified instructor?

By Sonya Edmonds

As with all learning it is imperative that the teacher is skilled and properly qualified in the subject being taught. There is an abundance of information and advice on the internet and social media but we can’t always assume it’s accurate. It’s often important to determine the source of the information. This is significant in the teaching and learning of infant massage. Why?
1. Baby massage is very different to adult massage.
I’m embarrassed to admit that when I had my own babies I thought I probably knew enough about baby massage to get by. After all I was a midwife and a qualified massage therapist! Well, I got quite a shock when I competed the training to become a certified infant massage instructor and realised how little I really knew. No wonder my babies took so long to sleep well!
2. It is vital that massage strokes are performed correctly.
There are many well researched benefits of baby massage. However massage strokes must be understood and performed accurately to achieve these benefits. Some strokes performed incorrectly could actually be detrimental to your baby.
3. Timing of massage is very important
Massage can be stimulating to a baby so it’s important to learn about timing and length of massage to get the best results. I find this is one of the biggest misunderstandings of parents and caregivers.
4. Certain areas of baby’s bodies are often “out of bounds” initially.
We can’t assume that it’s okay to massage wherever we like on our babies. Some areas are not so well received by babies to start with; this is really important to know so that both parents and babies enjoy the massage experience.
5. A skill for life so get right!
Infant massage is a skill for life. With certain modifications your new skill can continue to benefit your child until their teens. Also, if you’re learning massage on your firstborn you will be likely to revisit the practice with subsequent children. So it’s vital that what you learn is safe and effective.


How do I know if my instructor IS qualified?

When attending an infant massage class your instructor should have evidence of their training and professional membership available. As a parent it is acceptable for you to enquire about this prior to a class to ensure the safety of your child and appropriate instruction.
I trained with the Infant Massage Information Service (IMIS), the largest provider of infant massage training in Australia. They have a large membership of certified infant massage instructors so there are plenty of qualified professionals. If you ever doubt the credibility of an instructor the association can be contacted here: http://www.babymassage.net.au

About the Author

Melissa McDougall

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